Pret cuts 3,000 jobs as Coronavirus 'sets sales back 10 years'

By Restaurant

- Last updated on GMT

Pret cuts 3,000 jobs as Coronavirus 'sets sales back 10 years'

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Pret has made nearly 3,000 staff redundant as a result of closures due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The sandwich chain reports that although sales and footfall are beginning to recover, it says the impact of the Coronavirus has set sales back 10 years, when the business was “considerably smaller” than it is now. A decade ago the chain operated around 200 sites compared with 367 today.

Weekly sales are averaging around £5m – the level they were at in August 2010 - according to the company.

It also said trade across the UK estate was down 60% down year on year.

As a result, the business says it has had to permanently close 30 venues across the UK and make 2,800 employees redundant, which it has put down to a combination of “shorter opening hours, lower transaction levels, and the losses faced by the business in 2020”.

Earlier this month the company asked thousands of its staff​ to work 20% fewer hours than before the pandemic as part of its post-Coronavirus restructuring, saying that around 1,000 jobs were at risk, however this figures has since been almost trebled.

“I’m gutted we’ve had to lose so many colleagues,” says CEO Pano Christou. “Although we’re now starting to see a steady but slow recovery, the pandemic has taken away almost a decade of growth at Pret.

“We’ve managed to protect many jobs by making changes to the way we run our shops and the hours we ask team members to work. I’m hopeful we’ll be able to review all these changes now that trade is improving again, and I’m encouraged by the improvements we’re seeing every week.

“We’ll soon be announcing a number of big changes to help bring Pret to more people. We’re grateful to the government for the support they’ve given our sector, and hope that support will continue as long as possible to give Pret time to adjust.”

Since the end of July, weekly sales have grown at Pret by average by around 7%. The company says it is “confident it can continue to build on this growth”.

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